Azerbaijan GP, Practice Two: Charles Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two
Leclerc three tenths ahead of Vettel; Mercedes nearly seven tenths off Ferrari pace; Verstappen fourth and both Toro Rossos and McLarens in top 10; Kvyat and Stroll crash out
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 26/04/19 7:35pm
Charles Leclerc outpaced Sebastian Vettel to lead a dominant Ferrari one-two in a hectic Practice Two at the Azerbaijan GP.
After Practice One was abandoned after no representative running, teams looked to make up for lost time and led to a session filled with lock-ups and two crashes as drivers sought to find the limits of Baku's street circuits.
But Leclerc avoided trouble to post the best time of the day with a 1:42.872 to finish over three tenths clear of his team-mate.
"Charles Leclerc was pretty special today," said Sky F1's Anthony Davidson. "He had really impressive times on the low fuel runs and new tyres, and on the high fuel runs as well."
The Monegasque is a specialist around Baku, having claimed an emotional Formula 2 feature race win in 2017 and his first points in Formula 1 last year with sixth place in the Sauber.
Ferrari, running an upgraded aero package and bigger rear wing, were well clear of their immediate rivals, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton nearly seven tenths off Leclerc's time in the lead Mercedes.
Qualifying is underway at 2pm on Saturday, with Practice Three taking place at 11am, both live and exclusive on Sky Sports F1.
Hamilton also made contact with Kevin Magnussen's Haas in the closing minutes of the session as the pair went through Turn 12 together.
Mercedes have made the perfect start to F1 2019 with three consecutive one-two finishes, but Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were split by Max Verstappen's Red Bull as the Dutchman slotted into fourth.
Indeed it was a strong showing for Honda's 'Spec 2' engine with Daniil Kvyat sixth for Toro Rosso, although the Russian blotted his copybook by crashing out with 25 minutes remaining.
That was the second red flag of the session after Lance Stroll had sent his Racing Point into the barriers after just 15 minutes, leaving the Canadian with effectively no running on Friday.
Alex Albon was eighth in the other Toro Rosso, just behind Carlos Sainz's McLaren, while Pierre Gasly struggled again in the second Red Bull as he could only manage ninth - nearly half a second off Verstappen's best time.
Lando Norris also got into the top 10, with Toro Rosso and McLaren looking well clear at the front of the midfield battle given Magnussen was six tenths slower than the teenage Briton in 11th.
Renault, in particular, struggled with Nico Hulkenberg 17th while Daniel Ricciardo, winner in Baku in 2017, was 15th and missed the final part of the session having run out of tyres after a series of big lock-ups.
Antonio Giovinazzi was 12th in the lead Alfa Romeo, ahead of Sergio Perez and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, but the Italian faces a 10-place grid penalty from wherever he qualifies after a change of control electronics.
Azerbaijan GP Practice Two Timesheet
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.921|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1.305|
|Alex Albon||Toro Rosso||+1.344|
|Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||+1.368|
|Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+2.494|
|Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+2.564|
|Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+2.610|
|Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+5.003|
|George Russell||Williams||No Time Set|
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